Thursday, May 29, 2008


We took a train from Michigan City, Indiana, into Chicago. We decided on the Aquarium although the Field Museum was very tempting. I quickly determined that it was $25 cheaper for us to buy a family membership then it was for us to buy regular tickets. So, we can go back as many times as we want over the next year. hee hee hee Before we went in, we met another loss family from Chicago. The kids all ran around and played on these rolling hills in front of the city and the lake. It was a beautiful view.

The aquarium was really nice. The kids all seemed to like it. The sea otters, beluga wales, penguins and komodo dragon were all favorites. Mia was acting mopey because she knew Chicago had an American Girl Place and that was one thing we didn't do in NYC that we had initially planned. DH and I decided to try to get there, if we could. It involved a few free trolley rides but we made it there. We let the girls picked out one item each. (So much for watching the budget!) Kendall picked a mini Julie just like her doll. Mia picked out an asian outfit.

We then got to take a regular bus to Millenium station to catch our train home. It was a great, busy day. Chicago was rather cool. I wish we had more time here. I would have liked it if I could have coordinated a few online friend visits since we were so close to others. I'm too tired to get the camera to upload photos. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Day is it?

I think it's Wednesday. Time marches by quickly and there just isn't must lounging time here on vacation. There is an insane amount of work to be done for us camper dwelling folks.
Loads of laundry done: At least 15. Seriously. We've been gone for 11 days and we've done more then 15 loads. That's not really including bedding either..unless you count a few items here and there based on need.

When I last wrote, I hinted about diamonds. The kids and I went prospecting and sluicing in Herkimer, New York. Dh stayed at the camper with Lily and the rest of us walked across the way to the Herkimer Diamond Mine. I paid $42 admittance for the 4 big kids and I to get hammers and entrance to the 'mines' which were really 2 big piles of rocks.

It was hot. We smashed away but didn't really get anything good although we saw lot of possibilities. I think we needed better tools to be able to free the tiny 'diamonds' (quartz) from their stony homes. A chisel would have been very helpful. We tried anyway. And it was pretty fun. Kendall mosied up to people and told them she hadn't found a single thing. One man, a professional prospector working from a hole in the ground, told her she needed to look harder. Later, the man's lady friend gave Kendall a diamond which I thought was very nice but I had a little talk with Kendall about not fishing for gifts from people.

Since it was so hot, the hottest day of our entire trip, we didn't stay as long as I would have liked. On our way out, I bought a $10 bag of dirt and we sluiced using their water thingy outside. We found lots of great gems!

The rest of the day was spent getting cleaned up and then the kids tried swimming again. Somehow, the temp plummetted and it was too cold for swimming so they shivered at the edge. I dove in and it was...refreshing...bone chilling cold.

I can't remember if this was the day I took my wheel to the playground. I am seriously sad that I just haven't had hardly any time to spin. We have been moving too much for that. I did get to predraft all of 'Nate' so I am hoping I can spin him soon...maybe when we park at my SIL's house this weekend.

Tuesday was a long road day. In our initial planning, we planned on stopping at Niagara Falls but we nixed those plans after we got a late start and a falls diversion would have put us behind schedule. As we approached, I asked dh how far off our path was it? 16 miles. We both decided to heck with the schedule and we stopped anyway. It was a whirlwind stop. We were in and out in about an hour. We didn't get to see everything but we can say that we went and we saw the falls. Lily was especially impressed. Mia hated it. She was freaked out by the panhandler who approached us in the parking lot. He was really agressive and it ticked my dh off.

I finished my 2nd monkey sock just as we arrived at Niagara Falls...ends woven in and everything!

We stayed at a Flying J last night...don't ask me where. Tonight we are back to a regular campground. We arrived here, got set up and I watched the kids on the playground while working on my next sock project...socks for Mia with yarn purchased in NYC. They will be short socks so I hope they go quickly. I'm not following a pattern on these ones. This playground has lots and lots of DIRT under the equipment. Kendall rolled around it in wearing her wonderful wallaby....the only 'jacket' she has so it meant another laundry round for me. And we had somehow already accumulated 2 full loads anyway.

I met a longtime online friend, Rachel, at the Hanna Andersson outlet here. I was in heaven walking among all the cute clothes. Oh my how I love HA clothes on my girls. On the way there, Mia proclaimed that she hates it along with Gymboree but that didn't stop her from finding 2 things that she liked from the racks. I could have bought a ton more but I exercised great restraint which dh would probably disagree with. Rachel has 2 daughters and they seemed to hit it off with my kids, especially Kendall and her oldest dd.

Now we have tentatively planned a quick day trip to Chicago tomorrow. I think we will check out one of the museums there.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Graduation #1

We met our family at the college campus Saturday morning. It was dh's oldest sister, her dh, their son Nathan - the graduate, and MIL who flew up for the event. We walked around campus a bit and then had lunch at a buffet there. MIL can no longer walk down stairs in general and the buffet was upstairs so we had to scramble to make a seating area so that she could avoid the stairs. That was a fun arrangement...when having to get food & drinks downstairs for kids. After lunch we walked around some is a lovely place.

We came back to the campground where our crazy kids went swimming in the freezing cold pool. DH and I watched them and I tried to sneak a little sock knitting in. Somewhere between there and our camper, I lost a dpn...a size 3.0 US 3 dpn not your tandard 3.25 US 3. So almost halfway through sock number 2 and I lost a vital tool that can't be found at any of the local craft stores or even LYSs. Grrr!

Dinner was at the Hotel Utica in a meeting room. It was a catered event held in honor of a network of 11 friends, including Nathan. Our kids were fairly well behaved but I was not entirely comfortable there. It seemed liked a lot of the people were monied and we were just plain old camper traveling folks. Kendall, however, was the belle of the ball and she charmed quite a few people with her contagious smile and fancy dress twirling. Ethan kept 'stealing' the fancy graduation toothpicks near the appetizers. He had a stack of 20 of them when I finally caught on and he was quite convinced he was keeping them. Mia felt uncomfortable and after dinner I let her walk around the lobby with Lily.

Sunday was the big day. We arrived on campus an hour early and still had to park very far away. Lily lasted 30 minutes before I had to take her out. Eventually all my kids joined me outside where lots of other children and toddlers were playing. I pulled out my sock and was able to knit a bit while they played. (I had swapped a 3.25 us 3 for the missing dpn because at this point I just want to be done with the damn sock.) On the way to lunch, I discovered that dpn #2 was missing. I had an entire afternoon on a beautiful campus with lots of waiting time and no way to knit. I retraced my steps but didn't find it. The college hosted a catered picnic for all attendees so we participated in that. Once the crowds cleared out, I retraced my steps again and found my dpn stuck in the grassy area close to where the kids were playing earlier. It truly was like finding a needle in a haystack because my dpn matched the little tree triggy things that were all over the grass. I was thrilled to be able to knit again! And yeah, I guess I should give magic loop another try.

We met Nathan's girlfriend and her parents. For whatever reason, I was a bit surprised when I met her....a very beautiful Korean girl named Kate. We have known about Kate since Nathan's freshman year so I have had 3+ years to envison her as someone completely different. She was incredibly nice and tried to convince Nate, as she called him, to take them to a playground across campus. We hitched a ride on a golf cart back to our van while dh pushed Lily in the stroller.

DH and I discovered that we have burned through an insane amount of money and we aren't even halfway through our trip. Yikes! I think we got a little free with the spending since we are on vacation and all. From this point on, we need to buckle down and watch our spending. The main thing we can do is actually eat from our camper vs eating out.

The kids, minus Kendall, went swimming again. Well, if you call standing in the water up to your knees and shivering 'swimming.' We cooked tilapia on our griddle/grill and had cesar salad, apple slices and oreas on our picnic table outside the camper. Afterwards, we took the dishes down to the campground's outdoor dishwashing sink. Once chores were down, we all took a bike ride around the campground and we ended up on a rocky beach along a river. This was seriously one if the best moments of our entire vacation. We let the kids take their shoes off and walk around in the frigid water. Kendall fell on her bottom but she wasn't too upset. Mia tried to get to one of the huge rocks but she just couldn't do it. Lily sat on the edge and tossed little rocks in. I took my shoes off and joined the kids, too. We all did a kind of river rock dance, walking on the rocks, slowly and step by step, and trying not to step on sharp ones. It was dark by the time we biked back. Our neighbor's fire was still going and the kids were hungry so we let them roast hotdogs. It was a lovely way to end our evening.

It's now the start of day 9 and we have plans to add 'diamonds' to our family wealth today. More on that later.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day 6-7

Day 6 and 7

As usual, it took us hours to pack up camp and get back on the road again. The bikes had to be attached to the roof rack, our outdoor table folded up and brought inside, the camper slide cranked in, the 2 tent bed ends disassembled and folded up, the outdoor carpet swept off and folded, etc, etc, etc. The coolest thing was listening to the kids play outside in that field while we packed up. There were no arguments...only a few squeals from Lily who wanted out of her secure (safe) spot in the stroller. We let her run around a bit, too, but we mostly needed to make sure she didn't run down the road while the big kids were preoccupied.

It was lunch time by the time we headed out. We are getting low on groceries so we were going to do a quick fast food run...which always starts a big argument of who likes what. McDonald's is almost always the popular consensus except that I am getting sick of Micky D's. Greyson doesn't like the chicken at Wendy's or Burger King. No one likes the fries at BK for that matter so it's usually out anyway. And so on and so on and so on. We used our handy GPS to locate a McDonald's on our path. It led us to a freakin food court in a huge outlet mall. That just wasn't working for us so we picked the next one a mile away. That ended up being a distribution center with lots of golden arches on semi-trucks. We gave up and got back on the highway. We then decided to try a service exit which boasted of a Roy Rogers. DH and I made the executive decision to go there. Mia & I went in to get the food since there was no drive through.

There was a hold up on chicken and there were 20 or so people behind us. There were 4 peeps, including us, waiting for chicken. Someone from the back got the great idea to let the non-chicken waiting people go ahead to grab there food from the cafe line style warming slots. Which meant that by the time we got our chicken, the mashed potatoes that Mia wanted were gone and so were the fries. Of course, I didn't think about that when they were all walking by. It took an INSANE amount of time for us to get our food. And the food we grabbed earlier was cold by the time we checked out. We ate in the van. It was seriously the most disgusting meal I have ever purchased for my family.

I was in the mood for knitting so I worked on my 2nd monkey sock. Right after one stop, when we were moving, my dpn from my monkey sock flew out of my hand and disappeared to the right of me. I emptied both compartments and it wasn't there. I HAD to be able to knit so I unbuckled and dove down into the foot area where I finally was able to find it in the step area of the door. I was able to knit to the heel flap. I was hoping to be done with this sock already so it's getting old! Plus I'm majorly ticked off at a knot I encountered. I cut the knot out and left the ends to be tied but the new area was in a different color and it's patterning in a different way which irks me. I'm ready to move on to another project.

Our new campground is awesome. There are tons of children here and we are close to the playground. Our neighbors are 2 elderly couples who have taken a liking to the kids. They had a fire going last night and they gave our kids sticks and marshmellows for roasting. I didn't reealize that it was Memorial Day weekend which explains all the campers here. The camp also has lots of activities the flashlight candy hunt last night. We aren't actually going to be here a whole lot over the next few days since we will be doing nephew graduation stuff.

I did 5 loads of laundry when we got here. It would have been 2, maybe 3, loads in our front loader. I think this was 3 days worth of laundry. It it wasn't so darn cold and wet we could go a week between laundry but our severely limited clothing options forced the camp laundrymat trip.

If I can, I'm going to set my wheel up outside in a few minutes. I really need a shower first but I can't bear to go to the showers in this 40 degree weather...with no heat in the showers. Yes, they have hot water but the air is just too cold. I can't really shower here because we don't have a full hook-up site...just water and electric.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Perfect Storm

Day 5

We took our time getting ready for our second trip into the city. At the first station, dh realized he left his phone in the van. He decided not to get it because it was raining and because we didn't need it at all the previous day. He also rationalized that he had his work Blackberry that could be used for calls in an emergency. Once in NYC, we took the subway directly to the Museum of Natural History. We stopped outside and had hotdogs from a street vendor before we went inside. Somewhere around the 3rd floor, the kids started whining and they just wanted to go to Central Park for cotton candy and playground time. We had to see the dinos though so we trugged on. The museum was very cool. I read some of the information out to the children but who knows what they may have learned. Naturally, the boys gravitated to all the weapon displays. Mia loved all the little house displays and she was in heaven in the Asian area. I worked on my monkey sock there and throughout NYC.

We walked to another LYS, Knitty City. At first, it was a bit uncomfortable because of the smallness of the store and the wideness of our stroller. DH moved it to the side and he waited while I walked around. No one greeted me or asked me if I needed help and for some reason, I was a little bothered by that. There appeared to be a class going on in the back of the room and it made me feel like I was intruding. I walked around, touched lots of fiber and yet again I have a knack for finding and drooling over the $60 a skein stuff. I was prepared to leave when Kendall spotted the same yarn I used for her Wonderful Wallaby...Cascade Sierra Quatro. OMG - how I love that yarn. It's a Pima Cotton and Wool blend. So soft to the touch, almost silky, and it knits up beautufully. Plus it's machine washable. At this point, I needed help figuring out how much to buy to be able to do Wonderful Wallaby sweatshirts for Mia, Greyson and Ethan so I found an employee and they happened to sell that pattern so they brought me one to look at. And the girl was very nice, I might add. I bought 16 skeins of Sierra in 3 colors! Red for Ethan, dark blue for Greyson and 2 greens for Mia. They didn't have 7 skeins of any color for Mia so we picked 3 varigated green and 4 solid light green. I came so close to not spending a dime and yet I ended up spending $150, my biggest yarn purchase ever!

We walked to Central Park, looking for a playground...that we didn't find until it was too late. We went right when we should have gone left. We walked and walked and walked. We stopped and let the kids play on a huge rocky area. I knit some more, dh replied to a work email on his crackberry, I mean blackberry, and he was wearing sleeping Lily in a sling.

One thing I noticed was the huge number of nannies pushing strollers in this part of town. It was like we had fallen in step with nannies and their charges heading to a nanny convention. And I think there was even one male nanny pushing a stroller. He definately did not look like a dad. I know a few people who have nannies back home but it was nothing like what we saw. Now, if we had been smart, we would have turned left to join the convention which I am sure was at the playground to the left pathway vs the path we took. I think it was a happy mistake though. I did notice that moms/nannies? hover right next to their children on the playground. DH and I can't do that with 5 kids so we would have looked negligent. {gasp} The rock formation thing was enjoyable to us and the kids so it was a win/win situation.

We took the Subway back towards Penn station where dh inadvertantly gipped the system by only scanning our pass once before we were let through the gate with our stroller. P.S. the stroller was a life-saver! Since we had the sling, the stroller became available for Kendall or Ethan as their legs 'ran out of gas.' Greyson even took a quick turn in there. The moms of NYC have evolved and have strollers better then ours. They all seemed to have these cool looking ones with bigger wheels, yet with a small footprint, and the child was raised higher and could be faced in or outwards. We saw a few of these $500 strollers at BRU when we made a quick trip to BRU restroom.

The 7:07 train to Secaucus was somewhat full so dh stayed in the handcapped area while the kids and I moved forward (or was it backwards) to find seats. A very nice gentleman offered to move so that Mia and I could sit together. I had Lily in the sling. The 3 middles sat diagonally from me. If the one butthead sitting scross from them would have switched with us, then we all could have been together.

They announced that Secaucus was near and I got our stuff ready...and waited until we were supposed to get off. There was no activity by our area and I was facing the back. Then we started moving and realization hit...we missed our stop! I took a quick inventory and immediately realized that dh had my backpack which had my money. I had 5 kids, 4 bags, no stroller, no money and no cell phone. (My cell phone died, totally died at the beginning of our vacation.) And our navigator had gotten off the train in Secaucus. He had his blackberry but I had no idea of what that number was. The kids started asking questions. I assured them that we would be fine...that we would get off at the next station and then go back to our stop. I was a wee bit concerned that dh would realize we didn't have money and that he would hop on the next train to find us. Ultimately I decided that he would stay put because we still had to ride to Harriman and that train left from Secaucus, where he was. As we got off the train, I had a moment of panic that our stop might not be a 'real' full station with an information desk. We were in luck...and we headed down the stairs to find someone to tell our sob story to.

'My husband and I got separated and we need to get back to Secaucus. Is there a train heading back that way?' 'Yes, of course' she replied as she looked the schedule. 'OK, great,' I replied. 'My next dilemma is that all of my money is with my husband in Secaucus so I can't buy any tickets.' She immediately came out of her glass information booth and she walked us to the track that we needed. We had to walk down a broken escalator. She even helped me keep my wanderer, Ethan, in line with the group. And then she waited with us until our train arrived a few minutes later. She told our story to the conductor and he let us on the train without tickets. And voila...we were on our way. But we had no idea where Daddy was and if he had gone looking for us. The kids spotted him first and they ran full throttle towards him. We had to go into the customer service office to get the stroller and our belongings. "Hello Kerri' they greeted me. "We know all about you.' They were trying earnestly to locate me on the trains by sending out calls to all the possible stops. I have to say that the employees were all very nice!

We made it to our track, which was empty of any commuters, we looked across to the next track and saw a stopped train heading down our line. DH insisted that was the one we wanted so we rushed up the yet-again broken escalator and down the other side where we *just* missed it. DH looked at his watch and said 'Wait, that was too early.' We headed back to the other track, where commuters were now arriving and we were able to get on the right train. Just another little bit of excitement! I was secretly glad that dh led us on this one because it took the heat off me for my little diversion.

I think the kids will love sharing this little 'story' (of our missed stop) with anyone who will lend an ear. We all made it back to our camper safely where everyone fell asleep fairly quickly. They are all still sleeping, those lazy bums. ;) My body feels like I ran a marathon and I'm hobbling around today.

Next stop - Hamilton College, New York.

One final thing before I forget...we were definately an oddity in NYC. During our entire trip, I saw 2 other families with 3 kids. The vast majority was one child with a fair sprinkling of 2s. We were the largest family for sure. OK, I'm sure other large families were probably in the city but we did not see them and we certainly got lots and lots of comments. The kids were all ready to move to NYC. I think it would be pretty hard to do a Sam's trip on the subway. Yeah, that would be horrific. Nevermind. We never could afford to live here anyway. It has been a wonderful place to visit though.

New York, Baby!

Day 4

Our campground...Black Bear in Florida, New York. After 3 days in the van, we were looking forward to letting the kids loose to burn of some of their never-ending supply of energy. And guess what? It was raining..and freezing cold, too. So we all danced around each other while dh set up the camper and I made a lunch of soup and sandwiches. Eventually, when the rain lightened to a mist, we let the kids run around in the small field next to us. They were very cold so I made some hot cocoa for them. When the rain stopped completely, I brought out M'lady and I started spinning my second batch of kool-aid dyed roving (bought at Knit-Witz.) This stuff is reds and pinks from 3 varieties of Kool-aid and very pretty. I really enjoyed spinning while watching my children outside playing princess (Kendall and later Lily) and sword fighting princes (Greyson & Ethan.) Mia was the director. She even got Ethan and Kendall to fake kiss for a scene. I didn't get too far on my spinning, maybe 1/4 a bobbin. I don't remember if I got much knitting done...maybe a couple pattern repeats on Monkey Sock #2 (or #3 depending on if you count the doomed one.)

We hung around the camper all afternoon. Everyone got much needed showers so we would be clean for our jaunt into the Big Apple on Wednesday.

NYC - Day 5

We parked our van in Harriman, NY, and we took the train into Secaucus. From there we transferred to NYC Penn station. The kids, especially Ethan, were thrilled to be on trains. I can't even describe how thrilled I was to be walking around in NYC! So many sights looked familiar from movies and whatnot. It was just cool. We used our GPS to find the big Toys R Us and it looked like a local yarn store, Yarn Connection, was on the way there. We had to drag the stroller up to the 2nd floor of a residential building. The store was tucked away in a tiny room that had very tall ceilings. I felt claustrophobic with the towering walls of yarn. I picked a ball of tofutsies sock yarn and we headed out.

GPS let us down with her outdated information because we arrived at TRU to discover it had been converted to a Babies R Us. We decided to have lunch and we ate at Good Burger...and it was very good...but ended up costing us $69 and that was with some sharing among children.

We took the subway to TRU. We rode the Ferris Wheel ($4 each.) Dh and I waffled about whether to let the kids pick out a small toy. We decided to let them...and that was a BIG mistake. It was just too over-whelming...too many choices and we, the parents, had limited them to $10 and something small that they could hold. I think we spent 2 hours in there including the Ferris Wheel ride. I was ready to get out. I mean, the store was nice but it was still loaded with the same toys that could be bought at our TRU or online. Here's what the kid's picked...

Mia - cheap Barbie Doll and a clothing pack. She really went over the $10 limit by a couple bucks. I'm not even sure why she picked Barbie considering her age and the fact that she doesn't really play with Barbie's anymore.

Greyson - Star Wars figurine with light sabor

Kendall - a little Bratz Baby that pees after you give her water from a bottle and 2 bonus pets that pee into a litter box with sand. I obviously didn't look at that package closely before buying!

Ethan - The best choice among the toys - a 2 pack of Speed Racer cars.

Lily - I picked out a little stuffed giraffe for her.

We headed towards the Empire State building. I was surprised at the security check point. I guess this was one of the things that changed after 9/11. I understand why they need to do it but it was really a pain to unload all the bags and keep the children together. Mia ended up getting pushed aside by several non-english speaking tourists because they crowded the metal detector as it was her turn and someone set it off. We were herded through ropes and we took 2 elevators to finally get up there. We did get an express pass up the last elevator, thanks to Lily screaming. They escorted us right out of the line. LOL Thanks, baby Girl!

It was WINDY and cold. I was not digging the continuous blast of freezing air. DH's hat blew off and he had to chase after it. We looked around a bit from all 4 sides and then I headed inside with all the children. Lily was still very fussy so I thought I would sit down and discreetly nurse her. Wrong. No sitting allowed. After a long day of walking...and no place to sit, I was done with the Empire State Building.

We had dinner at McDonald's close to Penn Station. Thank goodness for fast food prices! Greyson's tiny light sabor got stuck under a bench and dh had to lift the bench so he could retrieve it.

Then we took our trains back to Harriman and dh drove us back to our camper. I think it was 9:30 and all 5 children were fast asleep. A fun-filled exhausting day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day 3

It’s now the beginning of day 3 of our grand adventure although I likely won‘t be able to post this until tonight. We started in Florida and have passed through Georgia, South Carolina (where we met T’s mom to drop off Sophie,) North Carolina (where we camped at a Flying J truck stop instead of walmart,) Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennslyvania .

That first night, we just couldn’t make it another 1.5 hours to get to the WalMart Super Center that was on our path. We might actually have to forgo walmart camping because we have are using an entire tank of water each day. When 6 people have to stop and pee at least every hour to hour and a half…we end up using our entire supply of fresh water in the tank in less then 24 hours. That’s water for flushing and washing hands. I guess that also includes water for washing a few dishes/pans, too. The flying J has water, propane, fuel and even a dump station. We will try to conserve water a bit more on our driving days but I doubt we could go 2 days unless we resort to public restrooms. {{gasp!}}

Speaking of restrooms….we seem to have started a tradition where the first person in the camper bathroom at each stop…well, they stink it up for everyone else. Most of us hold our breath and just deal with it but our sweet Kendall has a very sensitive nose and she starts gagging. Poor thing! Yeah - it’s not pleasant. Got to keep it real before I encourage any large family road trips!

I have been knitting so much that my hands are feeling arthritic…especially now, first thing in the morning. On a VERY happy note, I finished one of my Monkey socks…with Jitterbug Kingfisher. And it fits!! I cast on number 2 immediately but had to stop when I dropped a dpn into the door jam of the van. I later recovered it but it as then too dark for me to resume knitting. I also discovered that my yarn ball winder fits perfectly on the grab handle of our van. I actually had the nerve to frog my first too-tight monkey sock and then I wound it onto the ball winder so that I could keep the skein continuous. I have just kept it there because I rather like knitting off it.

Speaking of my beautiful completed Monkey sock. I tried it on and took a few pictures. Not even 30 seconds later, we discovered that Lily filled her diaper. We spotted a sign for a farmer’s market so DH pulled off so that I could change her and then afterwards we would pick up some fruit from the market. I layed a towel down on the bench seat of the van and I unbuckled her. I stood at the end of the seat, pulled her pants off and was treated to a small ‘thump’ on my monkey sock foot. Yes, a nice plop of yellow cabbage poop flew out of her pant leg and of all places onto my prized hand knitted sock! I got her cleaned up and then I got myself cleaned up. By this point I was feeling gross so I took a quick sponge bath in the tiny camper bathroom and I washed my hair by leaning into the tiny shower and using the shower sprayer. No one else has showered or anything. We are holding out until we get to our campground.

After the poop knitastrophy, we picked out our goodies and then headed to a local playground to fix lunch and to let the kids play. It was a great playground and a class of daycare kids was there so my kids had new friends to play with.

One thing that I hadn’t planned on…it’s freakin cold up here!! I packed a minimal amount of cold-weather clothing…pants and long sleeved shirts for the kids. It had to be in the lower 40s last night. We are going to be in trouble if it ends up like this every day. Thank goodness dh had 2 hoodies because I took one of his. Lily is wearing Pjs today because it was the only thing that covered her arms and legs. Brrr! I guess I would have expected this a month ago…but not late May.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Can't leave home without it

We are heading out in a couple hours and I think I spent more time packing my wheel, fiber, yarn, knitting needles and pattern books then I did packing everything else. It's going to be a monster trip with loads and loads of driving time. Whee! DH does most of the driving so I'll be able to knit...and maybe even predraft fiber for my early morning spinning sessions while the kids are still sleeping in the camper.

We won't be staying at a campground tonight. Yep...we are going to try Wal-Mart camping. When dh told me about it, I thought he's been smoking crack or something. I like to save money and all but this sounded extreme! I did a bit of internet prove him wrong...and I even posted a poll on my parenting BB and people had seen and even done this before. I still thought he was nuts but with the rapidly increasing cost of fuel...I changed my mind. Our gas budget for this trip will be well over $1000!! Tonight is a good night for trying the walmart thing because we are driving as much as we can and then we will be leaving early tomorrow for day 2 of driving.

First destination? New York City!! Well, we aren't camping in NYC. We are camping as close as we can get and then we will take the train into the city. I'm beyond excited. The kids are also excited. My oldest was excited but now she's panicking about the crowds. She's convinced we are going to get separated. I'm a wee bit concerned but I think we can handle it.

I hope to have internet access along the way so I can post my fibery progress.

Oh oh! I can't forget about the spin-in yesterday. Our local yarn store, Knit-Witz, had a spin-in. My dh was gracious enough to 'allow' me to attend even though we were no where near ready for our trip. I had a great time. My spinning is getting better!! The green yarn is blue faced leiceister wool that I dyed with kool-aid, spun on my ladybug and then plied. I love it! The gals kept calling it BRIGHT. LOL I don't really think it's all that bright...more sherberty then neon.
Chris from Sugarbee Studios brought lots of fiber porn for us to touch and buy. I picked out a One Night Stand fiber batt named Nate. Man, he's hot and has awesome baby blues. I thought I was going to pick Collin but Nate stole my heart. I can't wait to spin him up! I also picked up a bag of her squishy raspberries & cream roving with merino/corri/wool & silk. And she brought me the 'It's All About the O' sock yarn that I bought from her etsy website site last week. I'm in fiber heaven. Now I just need to take my time and get better at spinning so that I can spin and then knit something with this yummy stuff.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A New Hobby...Spinning...Hazardous to your Hair

When the gals at our local yarn store would bring out their spinning wheels...I said no thank you. The last thing I wanted was another pricey hobby. The wheels alone start at a couple hundred bucks and go well over $1000. Then you need something to spin...fiber....squishy glorious fiber in a rainbow of colors. I started changing my mind at Sheep and Wool Days at Middleton Place when I saw the ladies (and one guy) spinning. Hmmm - that looks like fun.

But thank you. I already had enough hobbies and as my husband pointed out I hadn't gained any new hours in each day.

And then I saw this...

It looked sturdy, the red wheel was cute and the surprise was that somewhere on the wheel would be my own enamaled 2 would be on the exact same spot...or so they say. The reviews were also pretty darn good. A great wheel for a beginner but that it would grow with me, too, as my skills improved.

I was sold...but my dh needed a little work. My friend let me borrow her spinning wheel, a Fidelis, so that I could learn to spin...and so that dh could see that I was serious. It worked. He let me order my wheel.

"M'lady" arrived a couple days ago. I was a little intimidated by it. I had practiced a little on the Fidelis...but it hadn't clicked. My initial results were similar....a twisty curly q mess. But it was fun!

Then a local yarn celebrity came to my rescue. Chris from Sugarbee Studios came to my house and watched me spin. Well, we spent a lot more time talking then spinning! It was such a fabulous morning. Her kids are very close in age to my 2 oldest kids and our kids just seemed to hit it off. I think everyone had a great time. And I got a little help with my technique. Turns out that I was pinching and pulling vs letting the fiber pull apart. I really think I'm on the verge of a spinning break-through.

Having Chris here really was like having a celebrity in my house. Her yarn and fiber is fabulous. I've been a part of many conversations at my LYS about her 'Politically Correct' line. Sock yarn with names like 'It's All About the O,' and 'Fiber Floozy.' Last time I was at the store, I took home a one night stand...George. Poor George. I ruined him. He was no good for me anyway. I should have practiced on some plain old roving before I jumped to fancy batts. Now my goal is to get better at spinning so that I can take home another one night Collin or Michael. I also like Serge but that's Chris's husband's name and I couldn't do that to a friend.

It was just a fabulous day all around! While Chris was still here, the post man brought me a box crammed full of yummy blue faced leiceister wool...and a spindle, too. I also got 8 ounces of pink corriedale. I am now swimming in fiber! Later in the day, I learned that I won a lotto for a free embroidered cloth diaper from the creator of the Fatty Cakes diaper pattern. Then a knitting bag pattern I having been coveting went on sale. And to top my fabulous MIL finally got an offer on her house. Wheee!!!

The yarn on the right is what I worked on when Chris was here. It's a mess but it's mine!

As I was finishing the last bit of this, I had to fix a little over-twisted problem. I leaned back from my wheel, held the yarn over my head and let it unravel. Only is grabbed my hair instead!! And it wouldn't let go!! Ouch!! I was able to separate it from my head and I then figured out how to ply the yarn. a bit later, my 11 year old came over and grabbed at my hair. Owww - again! She pulled out a few strands of my hair and a lovely poof of wool. LOL Thank goodness I didn't go anywhere like that.

Friday, May 9, 2008


My poor blog. I had high hopes and then I abandoned it. I have been creating...just not doing a good job of capturing and recording.

Some of my recently finished items:

My oldest child wanted a birthday present for her best friend. We gave her 2 American Girl dresses that I had sewn a while back with the intent of selling. These were ultra fancy dresses. While my dn was rushing around trying to prepare the package, I was kettle dying yarn for a swap. DN lamented that we had no appropriate wrapping paper or gift bags. I had an ah-ha moment and threw a playsilk into the dye pot which was nearly exhausted. It produced a beautiful light lavendery-burgundy with veins of slightly deeper colors. Once it was rinsed and dried, we wrapped it around the box and it made a stunning gift.

Drats - can't finish this now.